What you need to know...
Akemi Raish MS, LAT, ATC, CES
US Marine Corps
How long have you been an athletic trainer?
This is my 12th year as a full-time AT.
Where did you come from (work history)?
I started as a collegiate AT, then I tried a Sports Med doctor's office for a hot minute, then international school in Shanghai, then high school, and now US Military in Japan. I don't like to sit still. :)
What do you enjoy most about international athletic training?
Meeting new people. In the US it can be very hard to break into a friend group when so many people already have their "tribe." When I'm international, it feels like everyone is in the same boat and walls come down. You're more vulnerable and so are they. I make life-long friends in a short amount of time when I live internationally.
Tell us a little about your family?
My family are my dogs. Duke is a 90-lb American Bulldog and Duchess is a Black Lab/Jack Russel and they are bffs.
Where is the best place you've traveled to and why?
I climbed Mt Fuji in September 2021. I am not typically the person to set such a big physical goal for myself, however, within my first hour of hiking, I realized it was not a physically challenge nearly as much as a mental challenge. I never thought I could've completed something like it, especially on my own, but I did and I'm so proud of myself. It was something I'll never forget.
What is your fondest memory as an ATC in your current role?
0500 AM hikes with various units I'm responsible for and watching the sunrise as we walk. Not only does my hiking build rapport with the Marines, it also is a place of mental peace for me.
What is your proudest moment as an athletic trainer overseas?
I think gaining a Marine's trust is what has made me proud here. It's common for them to ignore their injuries because if they speak up, they may have to restart boot camp or restart the course they are taking which would set them back. They keep pushing until they physically can't continue. For a Marine to finally decide they're going to come to me and trust me with their treatment, recovery, and return to duty is huge and I don't take it lightly. I'm in a place where they can be themselves, be honest, and put their health first. And that always feels good.
How is your current role different than a traditional ATC job?
There are many similarities between my job and a physical therapy clinic, but my most enjoyable time is when I'm out of the office. I get to attend trainings, including hikes, performance fitness tests (PFT, CFT), and obstacle courses to provide acute injury care and first aid. I miss the acute interaction. I have had the opportunity to take courses that are taught to US Marines and to their medical providers (Navy Corpsmen) about how to treat life- threatening injuries and conditions in a training situation (when practicing with artillery, repelling from a helicopter, etc) and in a combat situation. This included some familiar tasks and some not-so-familiar: starting an IV, starting a cricotomy, inserting a needle for chest decompression, sealing a chest wound, inserting an NPA, placing a tourniquet, and more. This was all while in a simulated combat situation wearing flak and Kevlar, clearing a room, finding the patient, and working on a simulated patient with life threatening wounds. Next week, I'll have the opportunity to attend the Jungle Warfare Training Center. Each day they focus on different aspects of training for war in the jungle in Okinawa, Japan- from how to evacuate a casualty to a 3-hour endurance obstacle course.
What athletic training chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Cleaning the hydroc. I'd rather not even have one.
What is one thing you miss from your home country?
I miss the food. Mexican food is the first thing I'm getting when I arrive!
What is something you learned in the last week?
I haven't taped an ankle in over a year...and I still got the magic touch!
If you could work in any country as an athletic trainer, where would you work?
England is my next goal.
What is the most important trend you see today in the field of athletic training?
I work with a lot of chronic conditions that Marines have put off for several years, so the most important aspect of AT that I push in my setting is mobility and focusing on a proper warm-up and cool down.
Trevor Riffey MS, ATC
Dalat International School,
How long have you been an athletic trainer? I have been an athletic trainer for 4 years. Two years I worked in Phoenix, Arizona and then I moved to Penang in 2020.
Where did you come from (work history)? I am from Southern California and got my
Bachelor's in Kinesiology from California Baptists University. I then graduated with my Masters in Athletic Training from Northern Arizona University in 2018 and was working in the Phoenix area between a couple clinics and a high school for 2 years before moving overseas to Penang where I am at Dalat International School now.
What do you enjoy most about international athletic training? I really enjoy educating my students and school community here about what athletic training is and why it is a benefit at our school and other international schools. There have been quite a few people here who did not exactly know what athletic training was and now they do and can see that it is beneficial.
Tell us a little about your family? My immediate family is my beautiful wife, Grace, and I. We don't have any kids right now and both of our families live in Southern California. We were able to visit them this past summer, which was great. My nephew was born while we were there so that was really cool to see him and spend some time with them while we were home.
What is your proudest moment as an athletic trainer overseas? Right now, my proudest moment has been being able to create and build the athletic training program at Dalat from scratch and see the students and staff respond so well to it. I have been able to start our ATSA (athletic training student aid) internship program for my Sports Med students to get practical experience observing, learning, and helping where they can and that has been awesome.
What is your fondest memory as an ATC in your current role? I think my fondest memory so far is hosting our school’s end of the season conference volleyball tournament with schools from all over East Asia and being able to see the athletic training room in full swing again after the pandemic. This was the first big conference tournament that we have had since I moved here so it was really cool to see the athletic training room busy again and being able to serve other student athletes from these other schools. Some of these schools do not have an ATC and their coaches were excited and glad that we were able to care for their athletes and wanted to start something at their own schools as well.
How is your current role different than a traditional ATC job? My role here at Dalat is a little bit different than the typical ATC job because my first priority at the school is being a teacher, which I actually enjoy doing as well. Technically, athletic training is not part of my job duties right now, but I have started the program in hopes that it will be in the near future. We also do not have near as many sports as back in the states so my schedule for after school is less time consuming, which has been nice. I think traditionally at schools in the states, ATCs could be at the school late into the night, but here that is not the case.
Where is the best place you've traveled to and why? Definitely the Greek islands. My wife and I got married in Crete in 2019, and then traveled for 3 weeks around some of the Greek islands, which was insane. The culture, food, and beaches were so awesome, and we loved every bit of it. I definitely have to go back soon.
What athletic training chore do you absolutely hate doing? Although I don’t have a lot of it here, I think cleaning certain machines or things in the ATR constantly is something I don’t really like doing. We don’t have a hydroc or a whirlpool, so I am fortunate I don’t have to clean those things all the time!
What is one thing you miss from your home country? I mean my friends and family back home for sure, but also the food. I love the variety of food in Penang, but sometimes I crave some good Mexican food or a burger from In n Out.